31 October 2016

From the 95 Theses

...one of my all time favorite lines:

"Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love and the dire need of the souls that are there if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a church?'' From Thesis 82 of the 95

This ingeniously placed as a question that people ask and that dispensing with the scandal of indulgences could alleviate. Here's to a great and joyous commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation!

30 October 2016

Serendipitous Moments

They are wonderful surprises. They fill our lives with unlooked for joy. But, of course, they do not last. They come and they go. They undulate like the very pulse of life itself. When they go, what ought our mindset be? We can be overwhelmed with sorrow and regret that they are over. But by trying to cling to what was once freely given and now gone, we miss the point. We will certainly experience grief that what brought us such unexpected joy is gone. Tears may well flow. Still, I believe God would have us rejoice rather that they occurred at all. That they brought us that unlooked for joy and graced our lives while they did. Rather than mourn unduly, let us be thankful! Let us praise the Lord of surprises who has blessed us with unanticipated joys and wait upon Him with eagerness for what He may yet have up his sleeve that we've not begun to imagine. With Him, there is always more. And so we have the grace to be thankful for the past and to call to mind the blessings enjoyed as often as we wish, to be peaceful in the present knowing that in this life we "have no continuing city," and to look with anticipation toward unknown vistas in the future. I think on this matter Stoicism and Christianity walk arm in arm. Just imagine that what you have so enjoyed might never ever have been and you will thank God feverntly that you got to experience it at all. He is indeed a great Lover of Mankind and He has filled the journey to our Father's house with "easter eggs" of joy that ever await our discovery and whose delight only grows as we receive, enjoy, and let them go with grace. 

A most glorious Reformation Festival

Sunrise before 7:45 Liturgy
What a joyous day! A musical feast indeed. Timpani and trumpet, strings and chimes, organ and school choir. We sang the lovely Divine Service 5 with all the great chorales (Don't tell Pastor, but I think I could sing THAT service every week without complaint!). Pastor preached us the joy of justification. We received the Lord's Body and Blood amid jubilant praise. There was no trimming in this service:

A Mighty Fortress
Kyrie, God Father
All Glory be to God Alone
Salvation Unto Us Has Come
We All Believe in One True God, Maker
Isaiah Mighty Seer
Lamb of God, Pure and Holy
Built on the Rock
The Lord My God Be Praised
O Lord, We Praise Thee
Lord, Keep Us Steadfast

And the icing on the cake? Not just Carlo's stunning prelude on A Mighty Fortress (Vaclav Nelhybel), but the Toccata and Fugue in d minor postlude. Sigh. A wonderful, wonderful service. About an hour and a half from start to finish.

P.S. EVERYTHING was printed out, which is the only way to really sing Divine Service 5 without losing your mind. 

Patristic Quote of the Day

Not that I think it is absolutely our duty to cut ourselves off from those who do not receive the faith, but rather to have regard to them in accordance with the old law of love, and to write to them with one consent, giving them all exhortation with pity, and to propose to them the faith of the fathers, and invite them to union. If we succeed we should be united in communion with them; if we fail we must be content with one another and purge our conduct of this uncertain spirit, restoring the evangelical and simple conversation followed by those who accepted the Word from the beginning. They, it is said, were of one heart and of one soul. Acts 4:32.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 128

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

This then is the kingdom of Christ, and he who possesses it thus, possesses it in the right way. Here there is no work, but only the acknowledgment of all our misfortune, and the reception of all the gifts of God. Here there is nothing but simple comfort, here the words are continually heard: Be joyful, let not your conscience be troubled because of sin, or because you have not done a great amount of good; I will forgive you all. (Church Postils, Trinity 19)

29 October 2016

Celebrating Lydia's Birthday

a day early...the theme was PURPLE (everything needs to be purple for that girl). First, a pic of Lydia and Henry sitting with their five great-grandparents. David made the cake himself (third time's a charm, right son?).

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Indeed, in his very nature man is nothing else than a liar, Ps. 116, 11. One may not entrust anything to man. Do not imagine that any one tells you the truth; man lies in whatsoever he speaks. And why? The fountain is evil, that is to say, the heart is not good; therefore also the rivers flowing therefrom cannot be good. Hence does the Lord oftimes call men a generation of vipers and a brood of serpents, Mat. 22, 34. Is not that a beautiful title for man?—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXIII Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let me reap benefit from my very trials, trusting most in God when I need Him most.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 123

28 October 2016

As election day looms

This prayer might be of use. I wrote it some years back:

Holy Father, You know how divided we have been as a nation on so many public policy issues. Forgive us where we have failed to explain our neighbors’ actions in the kindest ways, when we let tempers flare and sully each others’ reputations. You have commanded us to pray for all our public servants and so we come to You now putting them all in Your omnipotent hands. Especially as we approach election day, we beg you: grant to the citizens of our nation wisdom to elect men and women who will serve our nation well, meeting the deep needs and persistent challenges before us. Help us as a people to turn to You, to learn from You, to value what You value and to prize what You prize. Without Your blessing, we will surely bring it all to ruin; with Your blessing, we will not fail. We ask all these things in the name of Him who gave His very life in love for us and for all, even Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In like manner must all come to shame and be overthrown who rise up against this divine wisdom and the Word of God. Consequently no one should fear even if all the wisdom and power of the world oppose the Gospel, yea, even if they plan to suppress it by the shedding of blood; for the more blood is shed, the more Christians there will be. The blood of Christians, as Tertullian says, is the seed from which Christians grow.—Martin Luther, Homily on Trinity XXIII, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

Let us then seek no more than this, but propose to all the brethren, who are willing to join us, the Nicene Creed. If they assent to that, let us further require that the Holy Ghost ought not to be called a creature, nor any of those who say so be received into communion. I do not think that we ought to insist upon anything beyond this. For I am convinced that by longer communication and mutual experience without strife, if anything more requires to be added by way of explanation, the Lord Who works all things together for good for them that love Him, will grant it.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 113

27 October 2016

Today's Catechesis

Chapel for 10.27.16

P&P, p. 260

Reading: 1 Cor. 10:

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

Catechism: p. 326 (second column)

What is the Sacrament of the Altar?

It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.

Where is this written?

The holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul write: Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: "Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me."

In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."


In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The whole mess began with eating. Eating what God had not given and what He had expressly forbad. And so are we surprised to find at the very heart of the Christian faith, at the center of our gathering to the Crucified and Risen Lord, the gift of food? And such food!

"The true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ." Now don't be grossed out. But we often hide from our eyes the fact that we can only sustain our natural life by the death of other living things, but it is absolutely true. Even if the other living thing is only broccoli. For you to live, other beings have to die. And you have to take into your body their life (usually rather quickly, before it rots and flies away). Your fridge, after all, is really a morgue, a place where the dead are stored and kept cool to hold off the inevitable rot which is the sign that all the life has fled from the food and so you dare not eat it anymore.

Our Lord looked this reality in the face when He warned us: Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life which the Son of God will give you. (John 6).

So He sacrifices Himself upon Calvary's tree to supply you with food, the food that is His flesh and blood. And unlike the other food that you take into yourself. This is spiritual food. This food doesn't rot. Doesn't decay. And even more, it imparts to you an eternal life when received in faith. Luther once said: Other food that we eat, we change into ourselves, but this food changes us into itself. We become one body because we all eat of the one body! It imparts to us a life that death simply cannot take from us. And because it is the body and blood of Jesus, it gives us forgiveness. For that is why He went to the cross, offering up His body and pouring out His blood, "for the forgiveness of sins."

So as often as you present yourself at the Table as a Christian (our Catechism, indeed the Book of Concord, is blessed ignorant of the phenomenon of Lutherans!), He gives to you the gift that He died to win for you and lives to impart to you: His very body and blood as FOOD so that you may eat it and not die, but live in Him forevermore.

St. Paul warns that there's no room then for feasting at the demon's table, when our true life is given at the Lord's table. Flee them! You belong to another. He made you His in Baptism. He keeps you His in the Supper. In Baptism you go into Christ. In to the Eucharist, Christ goes into you. All so that Christ may be all in all, and so that you might have a share in Him, in His life, in His blessedness and glory.

Indeed, the cup of blessing (the blessing promised to Abraham) which we bless (with the words of Jesus) is koinonia – common participation – in His blood. The bread which we bread is koinonia—common participation—in His body. And thus you share His life: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me will also live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven…whoever feeds on this bread will live…FOREVER."

Unlike the rest of your food, THIS food, Christ's true body and blood under the bread and wine, isn't rotting and decaying; it gives you a life in Christ, a life that is forever. And for that, all glory to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

Hymn: "What Is This Bread?" LSB 629

One of the sad misses

in Lutheran Service Book is Luther's great paraphrase of Psalm 12. In these days, it seems we have need of it again:

O Lord, look down from heav'n, behold,
And let Thy pity waken;
How few are we within Thy fold,
Thy saints by men forsaken!
True faith seems quenched on ev'ry hand,
Men suffer not Thy Word to stand;
Dark times have us o'ertaken.

With fraud which they themselves invent
Thy truth they have confounded;
Their hearts are not with one consent
On Thy pure doctrine grounded.
While they parade with outward show,
They lead the people to and fro,
In error's maze astounded.

May God root out all heresy
And of false teachers rid us,
Who proudly say: "Now where is he
That shall our speech forbid us?
By right or might we shall prevail;
What we determine cannot fail;
We own no lord and master."

Therefore saith God, "I must arise,
The poor My help are needing;
To Me ascend My people's cries,
And I have heard their pleading.
For them My saving Word shall fight
And fearlessly and sharply smite,
The poor with might defending."

As silver tried by fire is pure
From all adulteration,
So thro' God's Word shall men endure
Each trial and temptation.
Its light beams brighter thro' the cross,
And, purified from human dross,
It shines through every nation.

Defend Thy truth, O God, and stay
This evil generation;
And from the error of its way
Keep Thine own congregation.
The wicked everywhere abound,
And would Thy little flock confound;
But Thou art our salvation. 

TLH, #260

You can listen here.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In like manner we should not worry that our doctrine will fail and be put to shame. For let even all the wise and prudent of the world together rise up against the Word of God; they overlook the joke that they opposed it, that it took place for their sake. It may indeed happen that they may howl and bite and snap against it so that the people think the Gospel will fail; but when they set themselves against it and wish to overthrow it, then it is certain that they are weak, and by the same trick they wished to seize and take Christ, they themselves are finally caught.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXIII, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

I have learned to know one who proves that even in a soldier's life it is possible to preserve the perfection of love to God, and that we must mark a Christian not by the style of his dress, but by the disposition of his soul.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 106

26 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

This is written for our consolation, in order that we who believe in Christ should know that we have a wisdom that far surpasses all other wisdom; a strength and righteousness, which are not to be compared with any human strength or righteousness; for against the Holy Spirit no counsel can prevail. We have the power through Christ to trample sin under our feet and to triumph over death, also a wisdom that surpasses the wisdom of the whole world. —Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXIII, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

The immediate object of my entreaty is as follows. By the old census, the clergy of God, presbyters and deacons, were left exempt.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 104 [curious what seems to be absent!]

25 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

For they do not know what forgiveness of sin is, and think it is something that sticks in the heart and lies still there, whereas it is the whole kingdom of Christ, which lasts forever without end. For as the sun shines and gives light none the less, although I close my eyes, so this mercy seat or forgiveness of sins stands forever, though I fall.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXII, Church Postil

Patristic Quote of the Day

You have professed your faith in Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Do not abandon this deposit; the Father— origin of all; the Son— Only begotten, begotten of Him, very God, Perfect of Perfect, living image, showing the whole Father in Himself; the Holy Ghost, having His subsistence of God, the fount of holiness, power that gives life, grace that makes perfect, through Whom man is adopted, and the mortal made immortal, conjoined with Father and Son in all things in glory and eternity, in power and kingdom, in sovereignty and godhead; as is testified by the tradition of the baptism of salvation.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 105

24 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Those who do not prove their faith by their works of love are servants who want others to forgive them, but do not forgive their neighbor, nor yield their rights; hence it will also be with them as with this servant.—Martin Luther, Homily on Trinity XXII, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

Just as athletes win crowns by their struggles in the arena, so are Christians brought to perfection by the trial of their temptations, if only we learn to accept what is sent us by the Lord with becoming patience, with all thanksgiving.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 101

23 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

When God wishes to reckon with us, he sends forth the preaching of the law, by which we learn to know what we owe.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXII, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the day

It is good and beneficial to communicate every day, and to partake of the holy body and blood of Christ For He distinctly says, He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. And who doubts that to share frequently in life, is the same thing as to have manifold life.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 93

22 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

For even if you fall, yet this Gospel and mercy-seat remain and stand forever; therefore as soon as you come and rise again, you again have grace. But he requires of you to forgive your neighbor whatever he has done against you, else you will neither be in this gracious kingdom nor enjoy the Gospel, that your sins may be forgiven. This in short is the idea and sense of this Gospel.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

Our distresses are notorious, even though we leave them untold, for now their sound has gone out into all the world. The doctrines of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set at nought; the devices of innovators are in vogue in the Churches; now men are rather contrivers of cunning systems than theologians; the wisdom of this world wins the highest prizes and has rejected the glory of the cross.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 90, to the Western Bishops

Day's Wrap

What a lovely October day! Cin and I enjoyed our breakfast and bulletproof coffee and then headed out for a walk in the brisk air. Thermometer said it was 33 when we walked into the kitchen this morning, but the house was mid sixties. So far, we've not had to turn on our furnace, and we hope we can make it quite a while longer. We piled on layers and walked out into the country, up to Schien Road and back. Time for a bit more coffee, and then showers. We headed to town and dropped off a battery that needed disposal at Autozone, enjoyed lunch at 54th Street (we shared a meal together and walked out only having spent twenty three bucks while enjoying wonderful steak, caesar salad and sweet tatter fries!), over to Bestbuy (a bust; they didn't have the cable I needed), to Lowe's to pick up a new shower head (1.75 gpm flow) and an insulating blanket for our water heater, Marketbasket to pick up stump removal chemicals; Mojo's where we finally found that cable; Gingham Buffalo to say "hey!" to Bekah, and then home. Then the fix it projects began, interspersed with pushups. Tried out the new cable: totally works. I exchanged the shower head while Cindi dejunked and rearranged some in the basement. We tackled the blanket for the hot water heater together. Quick dinner of left overs. Cindi is bowling tonight and I spent the evening recording some songs, surfing the net, listening to music, and pumping up the bike tires for our trip to church tomorrow. A very productive day. I wish I'd gotten the stump underway, but I'm wondering if I shouldn't really wait till spring since it says it works best in warmer weather.

21 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Hence there are many rude and vicious people who misuse the Gospel, who live a free life and do as they please, and think no one shall ever rebuke them, because the Gospel preaches nothing but the forgiveness of sins. To those the Gospel is not preached, who thus despise the great treasure and treat it wantonly.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XX in Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

When I turn my gaze upon the world, and perceive the difficulties by which every effort after good is obstructed, like those of a man walking in fetters, I am brought to despair of myself. But then I direct my gaze in the direction of your reverence; I remember that our Lord has appointed you to be physician of the diseases in the Churches; and I recover my spirits, and rise from the depression of despair to the hope of better things. As your wisdom well knows, the whole Church is undone.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 82 (to Athanasius)

20 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

In the kingdom of God, where God rules with the Gospel, there is no demand for right and dues, but all is pure forgiveness, pardon and giving, no anger, no punishment, but all is pure brotherly service and kindness.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

I for my part have long been aware, so far as my moderate intelligence has been able to judge of current events, that the one way of safety for the Churches of the East lies in their having the sympathy of the bishops of the West.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 66

19 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Every person has indeed his own experiences in life by which he may exercise his faith, to trust God to help him. Thus he will be able to prove how God helps him, and he can thus make progress and grow in faith. As soon as one experience ends another always begins, so that we may see and grasp the truth that our Lord God is true.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXI, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

He who subjects himself to his neighbour in love can never be humiliated.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 65

18 October 2016

So today as I was enjoying my

noontime constitutional, I looked up. I like to look at the trees and this time of the year, what a glorious display is popping out everywhere. Only one problem. There's a wall along one side where I walk and when I'm looking at the trees I kept running into it. A rather obvious conclusion: my feet follow my eyes. Hmm. Spiritually? Where are my eyes? Because where my eyes, my focus if you will, is, there my feet, my life if you will, follows. The Psalmist must have understood this: "Turn my eyes from beholding worthless things" and "My eyes are ever toward the Lord" and "so our eyes are upon the Lord our God till He have mercy on us." Is not this the key to peace, to overflowing joy, and to having our feet walk in the right path? We love, because He first loved us. As we focus upon His love for us and hold steady the image of Christ Crucified in wonder and awe, where we see in golden letters "God is love" as the Hymn puts it, we end up walking toward Him, and that results in loving. It happens. Like me running into the wall because I was looking at the trees. Our feet follow our focus; our life does too.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

But if we are lost in such a little tempest, what will we do in the great conflicts of the soul? See, in this way faith is exercised and increased; if we go forth, and are today as yesterday, tomorrow as today, that is not a Christian life. —Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXI, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

Do we fail to love according to the commandment of the Lord? Then we lose the distinctive mark imprinted on us. Are we puffed to repletion with empty pride and arrogance? Then we fall into the inevitable condemnation of the devil.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 56

17 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Now we ought to be so armed that we do not remain standing still at the first degree, but continually increase; therefore the cross, temptation and opposition must come, by means of which faith will grow and become strong, and as the glory of faith increases, the mortification of the body also increases; the stronger faith is, the weaker will the flesh be, and the smaller the faith, the stronger the flesh, and the less will the flesh be denied.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXI, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

For the substance was not separated from the Father and bestowed on the Son; neither did the substance engender by fluxion, nor yet by shooting forth as plants their fruits. The mode of the divine begetting is ineffable and inconceivable by human thought.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 52

16 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

When a priest, nun or monk boasts that he has maintained his chastity, said many masses, fasted often, prayed much and the like, and then does not keep in mind God's Word, but his own good works, and, builds upon them, so that he thinks God must consequently hear him, then he is lost; for as long as this picture is in the mind, faith cannot be there. Therefore when one is about to die and death is present, and he looks around for a way of escape and for the first step he should take, then satan is at hand and pictures to him how dreadful and horrible death is; and besides he sees hell and God's judgment before his eyes. Then satan is victorious, for there is no help as long as this is before his eyes. If he were wise and pictured nothing else in his heart and continued to cling to the Word of God alone, he would live, for that is a living Word. Therefore, whoever clings to the Word must stand where the living and eternal Word stands.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXI, Church Postil

Patristic Quote of the Day

Never neglect reading, especially of the New Testament, because very frequently mischief comes of reading the Old; not because what is written is harmful, but because the minds of the injured are weak. All bread is nutritious, but it may be injurious to the sick. Just so all Scripture is God inspired and profitable, and there is nothing in it unclean: only to him who thinks it is unclean, to him it is unclean.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 42

15 October 2016

Patristic Quote of the Day

For all things that are the Father's are beheld in the Son, and all things that are the Son's are the Father's; because the whole Son is in the Father and has all the Father in Himself.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 38

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Beloved, put it on the scales and weigh it according to God's Word.—Martin Luther, Sermon on the Dedication of the Castle Church in Torgau

We don't get to see each other

nearly often enough, so it's always a great joy when Sis and Jimmy come for a visit. She looks so very much like our mom. It's uncanny!

14 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Therefore the growth of your faith is truly as necessary as its beginning, and indeed more so; but all is the work of God. —Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXI, Church Postil

Patristic Quote of the Day

Transfer, then, to the divine dogmas the same standard of difference which you recognise in the case both of essence and of hypostasis in human affairs, and you will not go wrong. Whatever your thought suggests to you as to the mode of the existence of the Father, you will think also in the case of the Son, and in like manner too of the Holy Ghost.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 38

13 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

So it is with all Christians; where faith is not continually kept in motion and exercised, it weakens and decreases, so that it must indeed vanish; and yet we do not see nor feel this weakness ourselves, except in times of need and temptation, when unbelief rages too strongly; and yet for that very reason faith must have temptations in which it may battle and grow.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXI, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

Shall we not watch? Shall we not meet together? Shall we not look to our common Lord, Who suffers each of his saints to serve his own generation, and summons him back to Himself at His own appointed time?—St. Basil the Great, Letter 28

Well, lookee there!

Celebrating the Saints cover art won an award. Sweet! Love the concept: it is Jesus who shines through the commemoration of His saints. Here are the judges’s comments:

We loved the stunning marriage of type and imagery on this cover. Christ appears subtly behind a carefully crafted wall of saint’s names. Still, your eye travels easily to the title and author. The overall impact is a very original and modern approach to a subject that’s both historical and current.

12 October 2016

Wonderful Week

It was a wonderful week in North Carolina. Got in just ahead of the hurricane and enjoyed a couple days of pouring rain. The parsonage there has a lovely and wide front porch. I sat out and listened to the rain kiss the earth more than once. Saturday in the midst of the storm, we celebrated an early birthday party for Annabelle. Sunday the wind picked up and the Church lost a tree (fell parallel to the Church, thanks be to God!). Dean delivered a fine homily, but it was a tad difficult to concentrate with little wiggle worm in my arms (that would be Flynn the Fantastic Perpetual Motion Machine!). Sawyer and I killed a few dragons together. We gave the tennis courts a workout Monday morning as I chased Annabelle's "snake" and we played ball. Cin and I got in a walk down the road under a clear blue October sky on Monday afternoon. We also squeezed in a game of Liverpool one day. Stupid game, absolutely stupid. It is always so hard to leave them, but the ride home was a treat. We came the southern route straight through Asheville and then over to Nashville and north from there. The colors in the mountains were beginning to pop, though I was surprised to see even more color further into Tennessee once we left the mountains behind. My lesson learned during the return trip was that it's better to start off in the dark and not have several hours of dark to drive through at the end. Anywho, the NC folk all are doing wonderfully. Lauren just glows when she's with child; Dean continues his faithful service; and the children show by every action that they are loved and treasured. For all of which, thanks be to God!

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Therefore it is not as the idle babblers among the theologians of the schools taught, who make out that we are lazy and careless, by saying: If one have the smallest drop or spark of love and faith, he will be saved. The Scriptures teach that one must increase and progress.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XXI, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

The Christian ought to regard all the things that are given him for his use, not as his to hold as his own or to lay up; and, giving careful heed to all things as the Lord's, not to overlook any of the things that are being thrown aside and disregarded, should this be the case.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 22

10 October 2016

Some NC Pics

where, after the hurricane, the weather has turned wonderfully Octoberish:

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Then he will find one, not only a single person, but a large company not clothed with a wedding garment, that is, with faith. These are pious people, much better than the foregoing; for you must consider them the ones who have heard and understood the Gospel, yet they cleaved to certain works and did not creep entirely into Christ; like the foolish virgins, who had no oil, that is, no faith.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

Only of them that labour for holiness and truth are the hopes destroyed by no deception; no issue can destroy their labours, for the kingdom of the heavens that awaits them is firm and sure. —St. Basil the Great, Letter 18

09 October 2016

As the grandsons

march around with house clanging pots together as loudly as they can, I am reminded of that classic definition of a boy: “A noise with dirt on it.”

The Box vs. the Bottle

I used to be teased rather mercilessly by friends for my preference for boxed wines over bottles. It was really laziness back then, I think. Putting in the plug was simpler than dealing with recalcitrant corks. Well, that and the fun of saying to a friend whose wife grew up in Napa that I loved Napa because it reminded me so much of Franzia. Yuk, yuk.

But then we discovered the two-buck chuck (three buck or four buck chuck these days) at TJ's. Then to bottles it was.

Lately, we've moved back to the box. Bota Box. I'm a fan. It costs like the cheap stuff and yet tastes a grade or two above. And the compact size makes it a cinch to store. Another Mr. Money Mustache recommendation and a good one (like so many of the rest). Anyone else turned into Bota Box aficionado?

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Now the wedding garment is Christ himself, which is put on by faith, as the Apostle says in Rom. 13, 14: "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ." Then the garment gives forth a lustre of itself, that is, faith in Christ bears fruit of itself, namely, love which works through faith in Christ.—Martin Luther, Homily on Trinity XX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

I am not embracing a city life. I am quite well aware how the evil one by such means devises deceit for mankind, but I do hold the society of the saints most useful.—Basil the Great, Letter 8

08 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Now since Christ is mine and I am his: if Satan rages, I have Christ who is my life; does sin trouble me, I have Christ who is my righteousness; do hell and perdition attack me, I have Christ, who is my salvation. Thus, there may rage within whatever will, if I have Christ, to him I can look so that nothing can harm me.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

As all the fruits of the season come to us in their proper time, flowers in spring, grain in summer, and apples in autumn, so the fruit for winter is talk.—St. Basil the Great, Letter 13

07 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Now his righteousness is truly incomparably stronger than my sins, and his life unmeasurably stronger than my death; for he is life itself where all life must be kindled, Therefore my death thus vanishes in his life, my sins in his righteousness and my condemnation in his salvation.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

Now I pray the Lord to direct your life in a prosperous course towards Himself, and Himself to bring you in His mercy to the kingdom of glory which is to come.—Pope St. Gregory the Great, Letters I:62

05 October 2016


...it took four days, working on it now and again, but THIS is the tree that was in our back yard when it was in health, and this is what it looks like now. Yes, it came down with that little hand saw and a pruning hook. Weedon, you bragging? You better believe it. This was my task on my 56th birthday and it was a blast.

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

This true bride-love God presented to us in Christ, in that he allowed him to become man for us and be united with our human nature that we might thus perceive and appreciate his good will toward us.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

Hence drawn by desire to the discovery of what is good, he seeks thoughtfully, without love of strife or glory, asking, answering, and besides considering the statements made. For it is incumbent, in applying ourselves not only to the divine Scriptures, but also to common notions, to institute investigations, the discovery ceasing at some useful end.—St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, Book VIII

04 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

God does not desire the Christian to live for himself.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XIX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

And for this reason we rightly do not sacrifice to God, who, needing nothing, supplies all men with all things; but we glorify Him who gave Himself in sacrifice for us, we also sacrificing ourselves; from that which needs nothing to that which needs nothing, and to that which is impassible from that which is impassible. For in our salvation alone God delights.—Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, Book VII

03 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

But if you seize Christ as the one who has become your substitute, who has taken your sin upon himself, and who has given himself with all his merit and worthiness for you, no sin can avail anything against you. If I am a sinner, he is holy, and is Lord over sin, death, satan and hell, so that no sin can harm me, because he has been given me as my righteousness and salvation.—Martin Luther, Homily on Trinity XIX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

For, in truth, the covenant of salvation, reaching down to us from the foundation of the world, through different generations and times, is one, though conceived as different in respect of gift. For it follows that there is one unchangeable gift of salvation given by one God, through one Lord, benefiting in many ways.—St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, Book VI

02 October 2016

I hate to see a tree die

but our Ash was on its last leg. It had been eaten up by something and the trunk is filled with holes. This summer it didn't have but a quarter of its normal leaves. So after dinner today, we decided to start taking it down. Equipped with a small hand saw and a pruning hook, Cindi and I went to work.  Still a long ways to go, but we have some nice smaller logs and kindling that will be great for next winter after it dries. The hummingbirds will be sad when they come back next year and find their hangout is history, but hopefully they will find suitable substitutes. And I suspect the pool will even easier to maintain next summer without the occasional “gifts” from the tree!

This Weekend's Divine Services

Were a joy and a half. I dearly love the readings for Trinity XIX in any case, but what made it very sweet was that I got to play the Saturday Divine Service, and then choir sang at both the Sunday Divine Services. That means that I got to sing three times (and play once) my favorite hymn of all time: "Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart." How sweet is that? Add in a very fine homily by Pr. Gleason, the choir getting to sing the gentle Cantique de Jean Racine and the boisterous opening of Luther's Te Deum (Ambrosianer Lobgesang, auf Deutsch even!), and it all added up to a most wonderful weekend. 

01 October 2016

Old Lutheran Quote of the Day

Behold, here you have all that belongs to this article of the righteousness of Christ. It consists in the forgiveness of sins, offered to us through Christ, and received by faith in and through the Word, purely and simply without any works on our part. Yet I do not mean that Christians should not and must not do good works, but that they are not to be mingled and entwined in the doctrine of faith, and decorated with the shameless delusion that they avail before God as righteousness, whereby both the doctrine of works and of faith are besmirched and destroyed.—Martin Luther, Homily for Trinity XIX, Church Postils

Patristic Quote of the Day

For by the Son is the Father known.—St. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata Book V

Merry Christmas!

Remember, if you want to give a Christmas gift for helping folks LIVE in our Church's liturgical calendar, there's always Celebrating the Saints! Just sayin.

A brand new kind of fun

for me, at any rate. Thanks to my friend, Kevin, I am borrowing a nifty little dongle that allows the audio out on my Clavinova to input into my iPad via GarageBand. I wanted to see how well this worked and so far, I'm impressed! I think this will be a must purchase. Yesterday and today I've had major fun playing around with this in its various settings to see what sounds the best. I plan on recording an album of easy listening piano music for Advent and Christmas. Think a la Jim Brickman or David Huntsinger, but with the specific hymns and carols Lutherans use. Stay tuned for more! A way to let the words of those great songs roll around in your head as you “go joyfully to your work.”

A Worthy Read

With a little bit of, er, colorful language tossed in, but the main message is quite sound. This is good, solid common sense. His point here has really made a difference for me: focusing attention and efforts on items under my control or influence and refusing to live in perpetual anxiety over the bewildering (and ever growing!) array of things I cannot. It's not been an easy lesson, but it is an important one. 

I'd add that glory of the freedom we have as Christians is that we are not to seek to enforce anything on anyone. Seriously. We want rather by our experience of the freedom of being the children of God, loved with an eternal love in the Son, to coax and to invite others into the freedom we've tasted as the beloved children of God. What joy to be living in our heavenly Father's world and experiencing it as always urging us on toward its fulfillment, its telos! How we miss the whole point of Sabbath as stopping not to twiddle our thumbs, but to be present to the creation. To move outside ourselves and enjoy the goodness of creation that still cries out to us “Let us go to the Father!” A goodness that our sin has marred but has not and could never eliminate (we're not so strong as all that!). The heavens still declare the glory of God.

And as I read and pondered this post, I was also reminded of how C. S. Lewis eschewed the media of his day: the newspapers (do people still buy those???). He pointed out that they made him feel badly about situations he could not help, all the while distracting him from the neighbor beside him whom he could